The number of housing units that started construction across Greater Victoria declined by 12.4 per cent in 2020 compared to the number started in 2019, according to a new report.
BC Check-Up: Invest, an annual report by the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia (CPABC) on investment trends across the province, finds 3,209 housing units began construction in 2020, down from 3,662 units started in 2019.
Lindalee Brougham, principal at Grant Thornton, said it was not a big surprise to see residential development in Victoria slow down after flourishing in recent years against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“However, the decline remains well below the provincial average of 18.3 per cent and indicates that Greater Victoria has been relatively resilient,” said Brougham.
While new starts for attached units such as condos, apartments, and townhomes dropping 17.8 per cent in 2020 compared to 2019, the number of new starts for detached units rose 9.1 per cent.
Before the pandemic, new starts for attached units such as condos rose, while detached units lagged behind, said Brougham. “The pandemic reversed this trend,” she said. “This coincides with surging homebuyer demand and prices for detached units witnessed in recent months. How these trends adapt in 2021 will be an important investment trend to follow.”
Brougham said major capital investment will help repair the economic damage resulting from the 2020 recession. “Greater Victoria should actively encourage and invest into developments that enhance our recovery, build important infrastructure, and improve housing affordability,” she said.
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